It’s more than a little disheartening to read the reports of beleaguered New Orleans scrapping together the annual Mardi Gras celebration and then witness only a handful of charitable parties scheduled here in New York—a city that just two weeks ago suffered from no lack of fêtes toasting Fashion Week. Throw a rock and you could have hit assistant fashion editor no. 253 on her way to another BED or Marquee afterparty, and yet the clubs are oddly quiet this week.
Granted, Mardi Gras has always been a much smaller celebration in New York, largely comprised of Abita-chuggers and hosted by Upper East Side bars hungry for plastic beads and Girls Gone Useless shirt-doffing.
Some of these venues will be contributing to Katrina this year—but don’t detail exactly how much, preferring to use that elusive, expedient phrase, “a portion of the proceeds.” So will that be 50 percent, 25 percent, or a whopping 0.00002 percent? We spoke to Dewey’s Flatiron owner Ed Dobres, whose Mardi Gras bash was so popular last year that it sold out. We asked if Dewey’s would be donating any profits from this year’s bash to Katrina, and Dobres said that “a portion of my end” will be going to charity, but was not sure how much or what the promoters would be doing. “It depends on how the party goes,” he replied. The general manager of Acme Bar & Grill, Tony Miele, said that they were currently donating food to Hurricane victims. When asked about during Mardi Gras, when they will be throwing their annual Fat Tuesday bash, he said, “We’ve already done so many Katrina benefits, we’re going to have to have a benefit for ourselves.”
It’s shocking that the Princeton Alumni associations, Tulane Alumni Club, and omnipresent party promoter Toshi are left to pick up everyone else’s slack. We’re convinced that the best way to honor Mardi Gras this year is to give directly to the American Red Cross, the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (http://www.louisianahelp.org/), or other charities listed at Give.org or Network for Good.
But if you’re still interested in hanging out, here are a few events.
Tulane Club of NY Mardi Gras Benefit, Feb. 23
The Tulane Club throws its annual Mardi Gras party at Porky’s this year, with favorite Cajun dishes and cocktails, a silent auction, and a live funk band. Part of all ticket sales and profits from the auction will go to the Tulane Relief Fund. Tickets are $25 for admission, food, and two drinks; $45 for a three-hour open bar with well drinks; and $75 for a VIP table with a three-hour top-shelf open bar.
From the Art of New York Exhibit, Feb. 22-28
The brainchild of NY1 arts reporter/producer Stephanie Simon, this weeklong art exhibition at the World Financial Center Winter Garden (10am-7pm daily) features 100 works of art by Gulf Coast and New York artists (including Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Christos and Jean-Claude.) The exhibit is free and open to the public, and visitors can purchase posters by artists De La Vega and Mimi Gross or magnolia pins in honor of the Gulf Coast. Net proceeds from this and the From the Art of New York Mardi Gras Gala will go to disaster relief efforts and rebuilding Gulf Coast art communities.
United Federation of Teachers’ “A Taste of New Orleans,” Feb. 28
The United Federation of Teachers is hosting a benefit dinner dance from 7pm-11pm at the UFT Headquarters (52 Broadway, 2nd Fl). Tickets are $50, and all proceeds will go to the UFT Disaster Relief Effort.
Fat Tuesday at Town Tavern, Feb. 28
Town Tavern will offer 2-for-1 Hurricanes from 6pm-10pm, $4 Abitas, $3 Coors Lights, and free jambalaya all night long—as well as bead contests, Mardi Gras bands, and guest bartenders from Tulane and Loyola.
Fat Tuesday at Mad River Bar & Grille, Feb. 28
Upper East Side’s Mad River Bar hosts a Fat Tuesday bash, with $3 Hurricanes, $3 margaritas, and a bead contest at 8pm. Part of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.